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KT&G invests heavily in slim cigarettes

| March 11, 2014

KT&G’s manufacturing plant at Sintanjin, north of Daejeon, is now the world’s biggest manufacturer of slim cigarettes, according to the Korea Joongang Daily quoting company sources.

An expansion of the production facility, which, with the installation of automatic machinery, took three years and five months, was completed yesterday.

The Daily’s story said the plant’s “production” of slim cigarettes would now rise from 35 billion to 85 billion a year.

The plant is said to be equipped so as to be able to produce 25 different types of cigarettes simultaneously.

Public smoking crackdown in Shenzhen

| March 11, 2014

A police crackdown on public-places tobacco smoking in a major Chinese city on Saturday resulted in just 37 people being fined, according to an report quoting the Guangzhou Daily.

The raids came exactly a week after authorities in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, introduced new anti-smoking regulations.

Most of the offenders were discovered in restaurants and hospitals.

They were each fined CNY50 (US$8.16), the minimum fine.

The maximum fine for an individual is CNY500, while venue owners face fines of up to CNY30,000.

Under the new regulations, also, people who publish advertisements for tobacco products or entice others to smoke can be fined up to CNY100,000.

The new regulations are said to ban smoking in 16 types of places, including kindergartens, health facilities and parks.

But entertainment venues are exempt until the end of 2016.

Taiwan to impose retailer registration

| March 11, 2014

In an effort to help curb the sale of illicit cigarettes, Taiwan’s government is planning to introduce a registration system for cigarette vendors around the country, according to a story in the Taipei Times.

At the moment, cigarettes can be purchased at convenience stores and roadside stalls nationwide. Anybody can set up a table anywhere and sell them.

“There is hardly any other country in which it is easier to get cigarettes than in Taiwan,” said National Treasury Administration Director-General Joanne Ling.

However, all that is expected to change now that the Ministry of Finance—following an agreement with local governments—is drafting regulations that will make registration a requirement for cigarette vendors.

The proposed regulations would prohibit unregistered stalls—set up primarily to sell betel nuts to passing motorists—from also selling cigarettes.

Once the measures take effect, only shops with a business registration certificate and approval to sell cigarettes will be allowed to engage in the business.

Imperial is Top Employer in Italy

| March 11, 2014

Imperial Tobacco has been recognized by the Top Employers Institute as one of the best companies to work for in Italy.

“Their comprehensive analysis highlighted our ‘exceptional employee conditions,’ especially the way our HR leadership strategies nurture and develop talent throughout all levels of the organisation,” Imperial said in a note posted on its website.

Margherita Ciaschini, HR manager, Italy, said that Top Employer certification was obtained only after a rigorous evaluation of employees’ working conditions and benefits.

“This process also looks at the opportunities we provide for training and career progression.

“Certification is an important achievement that recognizes the great progress we’ve made in terms of investing resource behind developing our people.”

Meanwhile, Claude Mullender, general manager, Italy, said he was proud of this success and delighted to see the continuing commitment and determination of employees, who had ensured that Imperial was the only tobacco company in Italy to grow market share last year.

BAT benefits from Philippines’ sin tax

| March 11, 2014

British American Tobacco Philippines (BATP) is expecting to enjoy a strong double-digit growth in its operations this year, largely due to robust sales of its low-cost brand, Pall Mall, and the more expensive, menthol-capsule-filtered Lucky Strike Click & Roll, according to a story in The Philippine Star.

BAT Philippines general manager James Lafferty said Pall Mall, which sells for PHP32 a pack, had become the second best-selling brand in 7-Eleven stores.

“We remain a small player in the Philippines but we’re very happy with our market share, which has been improving,” Lafferty was quoted as saying. “We beat all our targets last year.

“We’re very pleased with the government’s efforts to maintain a level playing field. The sin tax rule is a complete victory for the government.”

Lafferty added that higher taxes on cigarettes would not have a significant impact on tobacco consumption or use. Consumption would remain at current levels until 2017, he said.

FCTC ratification not on the agenda

| March 10, 2014

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has no plans to ratify the global convention on tobacco control and will not rush to do so, according to a story in the Jakarta Post quoting a senior presidential aide.

At the end of February, a story on quoting Health Minister Nafsiah Mboi indicated that the president had agreed to ratify the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

At that time, Nafsiah was quoted as saying the president had supported ratification of the treaty from the beginning; and she expressed the hope that ratification would proceed without problems.

But on Friday, Cabinet Secretary Dipo Alam told reporters at the state palace that Yudhoyono had not said anything about ratifying the convention.

He added that his office, through which legislation, conventions and other bills were channelled before going to the president for signature, had not received anything on the FCTC from the Health Ministry or the office of the coordinating minister for people’s welfare.

Dipo stressed that Yudhoyono was “in no rush” to ratify the FCTC because of the impact it would have on the country’s tobacco growers.

“Tobacco farmers needn’t be overly concerned or start holding protests just yet,” he said. “I don’t believe the president is in any rush to ratify this convention.”

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